TRAVEL writers, a Paralympian, a glaciologist, a ’60s pop group and a fairy named Sparkle are among the 783 Australians named in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list — and while all have been recognised for their achievements, not one has become a knight or dame.
NSW Chief Justice Thomas Bathurst was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).
He is joined in the second-highest honours class by Professor Richard Gibbs, who was recognised for his work sequencing the human genome, and author Les Carlyon.
Dr Megan Clark, chief executive of CSIRO, is the only woman among the seven AC appointees.
The field of entertainment was well-represented. Best known for the hit Georgy Girl, the Seekers — Judith Durham, Athol Guy, Bruce Woodley and Keith Potger — have each been made an officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
So too were the founders of the global travel publisher Lonely Planet, Maureen and Tony Wheeler.
The company started with a single backpackers’ guide, Across Asia on the Cheap, in 1975.
Other Order of Australia recipients include Ziggy Switkowksi, chairman of the NBN and former head of Telstra and Optus, and Professor Paul Grabowsky, jazz pianist and composer.
Glitter and wand make a rare addition to investitures and Fairy Sparkle has been honoured for her work with sick children and help in establishing “Fairy Gardens” at six hospitals in NSW and Queensland.
“Nothing makes me happier than seeing a child’s face light up — and then seeing that same glow reflected in their parents’ faces. If I can wave my wand and make something positive happen, why wouldn’t I?”, said Ms Sparkle, who has volunteered in hospitals for 23 years and is now a holder of a Medal of the Order of Australia.
“I’m a little bit left of field, so to have my work recognised is such a wonderful honour.”
Over more than two decades, she has worked in hospitals around Sydney to improve the lives of patients and their families during their most vulnerable moments.
Accompanied by her pomeranian, Inkling, she sings, plays and chats with the young patients seven days a week.
Particularly close to Fairy’s heart is the “happy garden” project, which has seen eight separate gardens built in hospitals around Sydney.
The project aims to create a sanctuary outside the ward, where patients and their families can go to relax, seek inspiration and interact as a “normal” family.
“It’s about allowing happiness and dignity to flourish in the face of difficult times,” she said.
The Prime Minister is able to nominate individuals for a knighthood at any time after the new powers were announced in March.
Last week he told the ABC: “We have got the Queen’s Birthday honours coming up and let’s see what they reveal.”
MAHAFFEY Robert James - OAM
MITCHELL David Searle - AM
TOMICH Leslie George - OAM
HANRAHAN Margaret Beatrice - OAM
POIDEVIN Gary John - OAM
LOUGHNAN Adrian Noel - OAM
GREGORY Milton Henry - OAM
TALLIS Jeffrey Peter - OAM
KERR Graham Frederick - OAM
MCLEAN Richard George - AM
COULSTON Lynette Pauline - OAM
MARTIN Lorna Ruth - OAM